2018 marked my first ever Golden Plains experience and let me tell you, it was an absolute treat to find myself back in ‘The Sup’ so few months after attending Meredith.
When Tropical Fuckstorm is in charge of kicking off the weekend, you know you are in for a wild ride. Opening with the groovy ‘Chameleon Paint’, TFS showed audiences early on exactly why they are the most experienced up and comers around at the moment. Fronted by Garreth Liddiard and consisting of previous members of The Drones and High Tension, TFS smashed out hit after hit of their unique psych rock and the crowd was vibing it hard, with tracks like ‘You Let My Tyres Down’ showing just how capable a Plains crowd is of unison sing-alongs, something that was mirrored by the band which incorporated three different members on vocals. By the time TFS walked off stage to the deserving sound of a system overload, the bar was set.
Thundercat was the first of many jazz oriented acts of the weekend, which I must say is a welcomed change. Opening with ‘Captain Stupido’, it seemed like Thundercat’s set would be impressive, but too much of a frenzy to dance along too, then, it plateaued into a video-game-esque ambience of smooth grooves and hard-hitting percussion, which was an impressive change up. Bringing out fellow Jazz act Kamasi Washington for some impressive sax soloing, the pair collaborated on stage for songs such as ‘Tron Song’ and ‘Them Changes’ before finishing off with the funky ‘Friend Zone.’
King Krule showed us that you don’t need to be jazz to rock the sax. Performing hits off his most recent effort ‘The OOZ’, his blunt English voice helped to ease in the afternoon with a full band arrangement to back him. While it seemed the crowd was unfamiliar with his newer material, there was no doubt that people loved it. And then came the bangers off ‘6 Feet Beneath The Moon.’ Songs such as ‘A Lizard State’ and ‘Baby Blue’ being the first act of the weekend too see the golden boot being raised while legions of fans drank in the afternoon sun.
After showing off what he can do during Thundercat’s set, the hype was immense when Kamasi Washington entered the stage. Performing alongside a band, which included his father, Ricky Washington on clarinet who “taught [Kamasi] everything [he] knows,” Washington commandeered the stage. His technical saxophone abilities delivering everything the crowd wanted for the sunset act of the first night. Performing a cover of Ryan Porters ‘The Sums’ crowds where left in awe, with one girl describing the set as leaving her ‘flabbergasted.’
Being the first act to play in the twilight of Saturday night the Scottish based Mogwai delivered an incredibly impressive set. Playing songs that primarily didn’t feature vocals, Mogwai let their music speak for themselves, performing each song with finesse. It was clear that we weren’t just watching another set but a complete performance. Contrasting from spacey ambient melodies to visceral build up’s, Mogwai left crowds speechless with many simply standing there watching in amazement.
The Preatures proved to be my least favourite act of the weekend. It’s not that they did anything to deserve that title, in fact, they did they opposite and played an awesome set, I just found their music to be slightly too simple and predictable to be deserving of such a prime time slot. But that being said, from a performance stand-point they were unfaultable, with lead singer Isabella Manfriedi swooning across the stage as she delivered each song exactly as you have heard on recordings, while simultaneously maintaining such an energetic stage presence.
After growing up on the Avalanches debut album ‘Since I Left You’ I was rather disappointed when I finally got the chance too see their live show at Falls two years ago, so, I was a little bit nervous as to how their Plains set would pan out. Opening with ‘Because I’m Me’ off 2016’s ‘Wildflower’ The Avalanches got the whole amphitheatre bouncing. Kicking into ‘Frankie Sinatra’ early on and featuring a stacked stage of musicians including intermediate appearances from Rapper Spank Rock, it was evident that a lot of rehearsal had gone into their set, leaving minimal room for error. Proving to be a handy way to getthe crowd going, they again mixed out into another old school classic of ‘The Who’s My Generation,’ which was extremely valid considering The Avalanches had just proved that they won’t “f.f.f.fadde away.”
Starting his set at 1:45 am, Floating Points gave the inebriated punters exactly what they needed. While at times intentionally off beat, his dancey grooves ushered in the perfect introduction to what’s in store post midnight the rest of the weekend.
Day two gave punters a taste of something different. With Waterfall Person being one of the first acts of the day it was hard not to be swept away by her endearing nature. Although it seemed she was more of an entertainer than a performer, it was a fun start to the day.
Rocket Science were the most surprising act of the weekend. Admittedly, I went to see them because I knew my dad would be pissed off if I didn’t and boy, was I glad I did. Performing their punk rock numbers, Rocket Science proved that they weren’t just a good reminder of the early 2000’s but instead that they were still a seriously good live band. Performing hit tracks such as ‘Being Followed’ they smashed through their set with ease being a particular favourite among the older punters.
Lee Fields alongside his band The Expressions proved to be my personal highlight of the weekend, which was really no surprise considering he’s been recording music since 1969. Performing with finesse Fields’ voice was soulful and mesmerising, with The Expressions giving the funk/soul vibe to back it. Dedicating his hit song ‘Wish You Were Here’ to the late Charles Bradley and his “baby sister” Sharon Jones, it was hard to not be lost in the emotion of his voice.
Performing during the sunset at a Meredith or Plains is never an easy feat, unless of course you are The Black Angels. While the crowd size wasn’t the biggest at the beginning of their set, by the end it was hard to find a punter who wasn’t there to enjoy their groovy offerings of fuzzy psych tunes. From the moment the riff of “Dead Men Walking” kicked in it was clear that The Black Angels had won the crowd to become on of the favourites of the weekend.
Big Boi proved that he doesn’t need André to rock the house. Freshly arriving off the plane, his solo works such as ‘Shutterbug’ and ‘Kryptonite’ where already winning over the crowd but when he went into old school bangers such as ‘So Fresh and So Clean’ it was hard to find a person standing still. After hearing ‘Ms Jackson’ played as intermission music at so many Meredith’s, it was truly an incredible moment to see it performed in the ‘sup, delivering the loudest crowd sing-along I have ever heard at a MMF.
Dj’s such as Dj Manchild and Merve brought in the early hours of Monday morning for all the people still kicking on before it was all come to a close by Objekt who delivered the perfect sunrise set.
Thankyou so much for having me back Aunty Meredith, I’ll be sure to catch you again this December!
Reviewed by Alex Callan
Photos by Nathan Ashworth